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Saturday, February 17, 2007
(6:11 PM) | Stephen:
Llamas & Heifers & Goats - Oh, My

Several years back I heard about a program that provides cows and goats to needy people in Tanzania. On Feb. 16th PBS' Religion & Ethics Newsweekly did a segment on The Heifer Project, which is what I had heard about before.

The idea is simple. Instead of just handing out milk rations, raise money to provide cows and goats. Recipients take a course in caring for the animals, which are different breeds than what they are used to and provide much more milk. They also are required to give away the first female calf to another needy family. According to the story on PBS, they've helped over 30,000 families over the last three decades.

That's 30,000 families that gained milk to drink and to sell, as well as calves that, after the first female, can be sold, kept for milk or butchered.

Another great benefit is that in areas that have a mixed Muslim/Christian population, the fact that a Muslim family might provide a free calf to a Christian family, or vice versa, has created an environment of peace and mutual respect and appreciation between the two religions.

Imagine that. Christians and Muslims living side by side in peace, all thanks to some cows and goats.

The Heifer Project can be found here. They actually do far more than provide cows, though what they do is livestock-centered. Llamas, ducks, geese, lambs, honeybees (which not only produce honey and beeswax for sale but also can double the production of nearby fruit and vegetables), even waterbuffalo. You can give a whole animal or group, or buy a share of an animal for as little as $10.

I don't mind telling you that I'm finishing this post with tears in my eyes. Sometimes you catch people doing something exactly right, and it's beautiful, just tremendously beautiful.

Cross-posted at Ezra's place.

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